Ramadan is a hard time for many of us with long summer hours of fasting and hot weather conditions. Alhamdulillah we will be rewarded for such conditions, but what about students who have exams during Ramadan? Their hardship is stressful!
Don’t despair. Allah will always reward those who strive despite difficulties they are facing and that includes fasting students who are studying for exams.
I was discussing this with my cousin-in-law just recently. She is a 19-year-old architectural engineer student and this will be her third year of having exams during Ramadan. She told me of an incident last year where she had a project to do that required her to download a program in order to study. The program wouldn’t download at all. She went to pray Tarawih and came back and it still hadn’t downloaded so she was really worried about the exam.
The next morning, my cousin-in-law’s friend came to her house and they went through the study points together. When she went for the exam, she was surprised that all of the questions her friend had helped her with were on the exam, so she was able to pass the exam with flying colors, alhamdulillah! This story brings us to our first tip:
1 – Don’t Give Up Your Worship During Ramadan
It may be tempting to not go and pray Tarawih. It may be tempting not to pray the extra sunnah prayers or do other good deeds during Ramadan, but as the incident shows, all good comes out of worship. Nour could have sat at home waiting for the program to download and panicked about it and not felt good for the exam at all.
She actually went to pray Tarawih and worshipped Allah in Ramadan. In return, Allah helped her by giving her time to meet with her friend and go through some study notes before the exam. So despite what looked like a potential disaster, the act of worship calmed her down, gave her some perspective and Allah rewarded her for it. No matter how stressed the exams are making you feel, don’t give up your worship during Ramadan.
2 – Rest Until Maghrib
If you have an exam during Ramadan, the best thing for you to do is rest and take a nap when you get home until Maghrib. Save and use that energy after iftar when you have eaten and feel refreshed. Then you can study and concentrate well once you have rested and eaten your meal.
3 – Break Fast With Something Small
You have been for exams, or just been at school all day. you are tired, you are hungry, you want to eat food! This is not going to help you when you need to study during the night for another exam you may have the next day or in a few days. Overeating will cause you to crash, don’t do it.
Nour told me the best tip she can give is to break the fast with something light, study for a little while, then go and pray Tarawih. Once you are back from Tarawih eat a bigger meal and then you will have the energy to have some serious study time during the night. We must also remember this is actually the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to break the fast with something light and not to stuff ourselves so we can’t move after iftar.
4 – Remember: All This Self-Discipline Will Benefit You After Ramadan
Nour explained that studying and having exams during Ramadan is very challenging, however she feels that it is a time that teaches you self-discipline. If you can face revision and exams during Ramadan, whilst fasting, then you can face any hardship that may come your way after Ramadan. You will feel strong enough to tackle any challenge just because of the self-discipline learned during exam time in Ramadan, subhanAllah! This time is just temporary, give it your best.
5 – Think Of The Rewards
Allah rewards us all especially when we find something difficult and for sure studying for exams during Ramadan is a difficult task. To keep motivated, think of the rewards that Allah will bestow on you! Not only will you pass your exams if you stay committed and dedicated whilst fasting and studying but you will be rewarded in the afterlife as well in sha’ Allah. This is the biggest motivation that pushes Nour during her exam time. Just think of those rewards! And give yourself a reward too, have an extra celebratory ‘Eid – you earned it.
I can’t imagine having to study on an empty stomach and clock-watching for iftar time. It must be very difficult, but as Nour told me, the key is to think of the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us during the holy month of Ramadan. If students can manage to keep acts of worship up as well as study, then they will have blessings in abundance in sha’ Allah. As Nour reminded me, Allah will not give you something you can’t do! So to all of those students out there- you have got this covered. Allah is right with you, so feel the blessings this Ramadan, study hard and Allah will not give up on you!
*Special thanks to Nour El-Koussy for these tips. Nour is in her third year of university, studying to be an Architectural Engineer.